News and Views

Olympic Heroes among those to be Honoured at UCC Sport Star Awards

25 Apr 2022

Olympic medallists Paul O’Donovan and Emily Hegarty are among those to be honoured at the UCC Sport Star Awards tonight by Professor John O’Halloran, President of University College Cork.

Sponsored by the River Lee Hotel and Bank of Ireland, the UCC Sport Awards will acknowledge the achievements of 19 outstanding student athletes who have excelled with their UCC clubs, external clubs and representative teams in the last twelve months.

In all, 14 present and former UCC athletes represented Ireland at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Gameswinning four medals, Gold for Paul ODonovan and Fintan McCarthy in the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls, and Bronze for Emily Hegarty and graduate Aifric Keogh in the Women’s Coxless Four.

UCC will recognise O’Donovan’s Olympic exploits, awarding the two-time medallist the UCC Sport Star of the Year Award.

Olympic Rowers, Emily Hegarty, Tara Hanlon, Margaret Cremem, Aoife Casey, Lydia Heaphy and Ronan Byrne will also receive Awards alongside Olympic Gymnast, Meg Ryan and Para-athlete, Mary FitzGerald.

Together with Munster Rugby’s John Hodnett and Alex Kendellen, Kerry football ace Diarmuid OConnor, Ladies Gaelic Footballer Katie Quirke, and Hurling star Mark Kehoe, are also to be honoured at the annual Awards ceremony at the River Lee Hotel.

Basketball star Amy Dooley, will be recognised after she played a key role in helping UCC Glanmire win the Champions Trophy, the Women’s Superleague and the National Senior Cup this season and helped UCC reach the intervarsity final.

Caoimhe Perdue, a key member of UCC Women’s Senior Hockey team, is to pick up an individual award after Captaining the Irish Junior Women’s team to a top 10 finish at the Junior World Cup in South Africa.

Christina Dring, another member of the successful hockey team, will receive an individual award for her exploits on the hockey and soccer fields, where she won the Lydon Cup with the University team and lines out for Cork City in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League.

In addition to the individual accolades, UCC Women’s Senior Hockey team will be presented with the Team of the Year Award, in recognition of their Munster Senior League success, and for reaching the Munster Senior Cup Final and EYLeague 2 Play-offs. The team’s coach, Graham Catchpole, is to receive the Coach of the Year Award.

Morgan Buckley, Head of UCC Sport, said that the Awards recognise the excellence of UCC students and their coaches who have represented the University, their club, county, province and country in their chosen sport.

Usually, we present 10 awards each year. However, due to the success of our student athletes on the national and international stage, we will honour 19 students tonight including our outstanding students who represented Ireland and the University at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

"It is important that we acknowledge their achievements alongside those athletes who are breaking into representative teams across the country or making waves in individual sports.

"We’re privileged to be able to support them as they maximise their potential in the sporting arena and the classroom. They are fantastic young people and a great credit to their sport, UCCfamilies and communities.

"As we have seen during the pandemic, sport can act as a release valve from the pressures of modern life. So, it’s hugely important that we help nurture the next generation of athletes who can galvanise communities both locally and nationally.



List of Awardees



Ruby Millet



Conor Morey



Mary FitzGerald



Amy Dooley


Gaelic Football

Diarmuid O Connor



Meg Ryan



Caoimhe Purdue


Hockey Soccer

Christina Dring



Mark Kehoe


Ladies Gaelic Football

Katie Quirke



Paul O Donovan

Olympic Gold Medal


Emily Hegarty

Olympic Bronze Medal


Margaret Cremen



Aoife Casey



Lydia Heaphy



Ronan Byrne



Tara Hanlon



John Hodnett



Alex Kendellen


Team of year

Women Senior Hockey team


Coach of the Year

Graham Catchpole – Women’s Hockey Coach








University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF